Reducing energy use with couture fashions made from trash
Public artist and environmental educator Nancy Judd has been providing environmental education across the country since 1991, when she began her career in recycling and waste reduction. For the last 14 years, her business, Recycle Runway, has raised awareness about resource use and sustainability by creating couture fashion sculptures from trash and installing her art in high-traffic public locations. Her work has been sponsored by companies such as Delta Air Lines, Toyota, Coca-Cola, and Target, and one of her pieces was even accepted into the Smithsonian’s permanent collection in 2011. She also creates community-building eco-events in her Santa Fe community and across the country by giving hands-on workshops and presentations to youth and adult audiences about environmental issues.
“But I always wonder: Am I changing people’s actions?” Nancy asked herself.
Nancy’s TogetherGreen fellowship project will answer that question through a quest for the definable, measurable results she seeks. The project will engage at least 200 households—through sixth grade students from under represented families in Santa Fe schools—in reducing energy use. Staying true to her roots, Nancy will create a new Recycle Runway garment made of waste items related to energy conservation that will document and celebrate the students’ actions.
Collaboration among the Santa Fe Community College’s New Mexico Energy$mart Academy, Santa Fe schools, and the Sustainable Santa Fe Commission will be critical to the project’s execution, and will provide participating teachers with an energy conservation lesson plan. Students will begin by recording baseline energy use in their homes, then they will be given a list of easy and no/low cost energy conservation actions they can implement with their families’ help. Participants will document implementation of these actions for a final report on the amount of energy saved and CO2 reduced. Nancy will creatively incorporate this information into the recycled garment.
“Every day we each make numerous decisions that affect the environment, and it is our duty to make these choices consciously,” she added. “The project will give students the knowledge and incentive to institute energy conservation actions at home that reduce energy use, as well as lower their parents’ utility bills!”